The Effects of Blue Light on Sleep and Circadian Rhythms

You're noticing it more and more - trouble falling asleep, frequent headaches, dry eyes. Could it be all that time you spend staring at screens? Blue light from devices like phones, computers, and TVs can negatively impact sleep, eye health, and even mood. Learn what the science says about risks of blue light exposure and whether those trendy blue-blocking glasses live up to the hype. Get tips for reducing blue light's effects so you can see clearly and sleep soundly.

Blue Light and Eye Strain: Symptoms and Solutions

Blue light disrupts your sleep-wake cycle.

Exposure to blue light after dark tricks your brain into thinking it's daytime, suppressing melatonin production and making it harder to fall asleep. Studies show exposure to blue light within 1-2 hours of bedtime can disrupt your circadian rhythms by up to 3 hours.

It impairs daytime alertness.

Because blue light exposure at night reduces sleep quality and quantity, it results in impaired alertness and concentration during the day. You may feel excessively sleepy or struggle to focus.

It leads to long-term health issues.

Chronic sleep deprivation from blue light exposure is linked to increased risks of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and depression. Lack of sleep also accelerates skin aging and hinders muscle recovery after exercise.

Digital eye strain is a real problem.

Staring at bright screens in dim light causes your eyes to work harder. This can lead to dry, irritated eyes, blurry vision, and headaches. Taking regular breaks, reducing glare, and optimizing screen brightness help, but blue light blocking glasses provide the most comprehensive solution.

Mood and mental health are impacted.

Studies show exposure to blue light at night may lead to depressive symptoms. It also stimulates alertness and stress hormones like cortisol, which can worsen symptoms of anxiety and make it harder to unwind at night. Reducing blue light helps create optimal conditions for your mind and body to relax.

By understanding how blue light affects your sleep, health, and well-being, you'll be motivated to make changes to improve your quality of life, both today and long into the future. Taking steps like wearing blue light blocking glasses, limiting screen time before bed, and optimizing your sleep environment can help you feel — and see — the difference.

Too much blue light exposure can lead to digital eye strain, causing symptoms like dry, irritated eyes, blurry vision, and headaches. Studies show that over half of people who use digital devices for over 3 hours a day experience symptoms of eye strain.

Dry, Irritated Eyes

Staring at screens for long periods reduces blinking, which can dry out and irritate your eyes. To relieve discomfort, use over-the-counter eye drops formulated for dry eyes and take regular breaks to look away from the screen and blink.

Blurry Vision

Blue light scatters in your eyes, which can temporarily blur your vision after screen use. Look away from the screen every 20 minutes at a distant object for 20 seconds to help reduce blurriness.


Excessive blue light exposure may lead to headaches by causing eye strain and affecting your circadian rhythm. Limit screen time before bed, use blue light blocking glasses, and take breaks to look away from the screen. Over-the-counter pain medication can also provide relief from blue light induced headaches.


The good news is there are solutions to reduce digital eye strain and limit the effects of too much blue light exposure. Blue light blocking glasses filter out the highest energy wavelengths to provide relief both while using screens and for up to 2 hours before bed. You should also follow the 20-20-20 rule: take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away every 20 minutes of screen use. Practicing good screen hygiene and limiting screen time, especially after dinner and before bed, can go a long way toward improving your eye health and sleep quality.

Choosing the Best Blue Light Blocking Glasses

Blue light filtering glasses are designed to block blue light emissions from digital screens and bright lights. They can help reduce digital eye strain and improve your sleep.

blue light glasses

Protect Your Eyes

Extended exposure to blue light can cause digital eye strain, leading to dry, irritated eyes, blurry vision, and headaches. Blue light blocking glasses filter out the harmful blue light to relieve these symptoms and prevent long term damage to your eyesight. Studies show blue light exposure may increase the risk of macular degeneration, an age-related eye disease and a leading cause of vision loss.

Sleep Better

Blue light suppresses melatonin production, making it harder to fall asleep. Wearing blue light glasses a few hours before bed helps block the blue light that keeps you awake and alert. Your brain will start producing melatonin again, helping you feel sleepy at your normal bedtime.

Reduce Headaches

If you frequently get headaches or migraines from looking at bright screens, blue light filtering glasses may provide relief. They reduce eye strain and block the wavelengths of light that can trigger headaches and migraines.

Improve Mood and Focus

Too much blue light exposure is linked to decreased mood and impaired memory. Blue light glasses may help you feel less irritable and more focused, especially if you spend long hours in front of the computer. By blocking excessive blue light, they support a healthy circadian rhythm and balanced mood.

While blue light blocking glasses can provide benefits, they do not block 100% of blue light. For the best results, also practice good digital hygiene like taking regular breaks from looking at bright screens, using night mode at night, and not using electronics an hour before bed. When used properly, blue light filtering glasses, along with a balanced lifestyle, can help you see and sleep better.

Blue Light Blocking Glasses FAQs: Your Top Questions Answered

When selecting blue light blocking glasses, consider a few key factors. The level of blue light protection, frame style, lens material, and cost are all important in finding glasses that suit your needs.

Blue Light Protection Level

The percentage of blue light blocked can vary from 10% up to 90% or more. For most people, glasses that block 30-50% of blue light strike a good balance of reduced digital eye strain and sleep disruption while still allowing some blue light through for mood and alertness. Those sensitive to migraines or headaches may need a higher level of protection.

Frame Style

Blue light blocking glasses come in a range of frame styles, from traditional frames that look like regular glasses to gaming glasses and computer glasses. Choose a frame style you find comfortable and that fits your lifestyle needs. Traditional frames may be best for all-day use, while computer glasses with side blinders help minimize distraction.

Lens Material

The most common lens materials for blue light blocking glasses are polycarbonate and Trivex. Polycarbonate lenses tend to be more budget-friendly but can distort vision slightly. Trivex lenses offer sharper vision with less distortion but at a higher cost. Both materials provide strong impact resistance. Higher-index plastics for prescriptions or glass for specialized computer use are also options.


You can find basic blue light blocking glasses for under $30 up to $200 or more for specialized computer gaming glasses. In general, you get what you pay for in terms of better frames, lens quality, and blue light protection. However, for casual use to reduce digital eye strain, you don't need to spend a premium. Shop various brands to compare based on the factors most important to you.

With some research into these key points, you'll find blue light blocking glasses that suit your needs and budget. Your eyes will thank you for taking this important step in protecting your vision and sleep health in today's screen-filled world.

Roger Sarkis